New Study from Gregory FCA and GoMarcellusShale.com Shows Marcellus Shale Continues to Take Hit in Public Opinion
Surprisingly, Marcellus Shale scores better in sentiment in social media than in the traditional press, while dwarfing online buzz of other major shale plays
A recent survey of Marcellus Shale public opinion, conducted by Gregory FCA and GoMarcellusShale.com, reveals that this vital source of domestic clean energy continues to take a public opinion thumping as traditional media reporting turns negative toward development of natural gas in the Appalachian Basin.
The study—which used Nielsen BuzzMetrics to cull more than 45,000 traditional media sources and over 150 million social media sources, including blogs, blog comments, message boards, forums, Facebook and Twitter—shows that the interest in Marcellus Shale by the media and general public is immense, drawing some 56,625 comments over the past year, more than the online and media interest shown in the eight other major shale plays throughout the United States.
While the interest is intense, the public sentiment toward Marcellus Shale development is exceedingly negative, compared to other shale plays. In fact, in traditional media, Marcellus Shale proves to be a lightning rod for negative press reports, with a positive sentiment of only 1.1 on a 10-point scale with five being the most positive sentiment and negative 5 being the lowest sentiment. As a point of comparison, Niobrara and Bakken Shale plays scored positive sentiments in the traditional media over the past year, with 5 and 4.5, respectively. Only the Utica Shale play scored more negative sentiment in traditional media, with a negative 1.5 sentiment in traditional press.
Interestingly, Marcellus Shale showed higher public sentiment in the digital domain, scoring nearly double the positive sentiment in online comments—a positive 2.8 sentiment in social media compared to 1.1 positive sentiment in traditional media.
“Clearly, traditional media has been persuaded by environmental groups as well as broad-based media vehicles—such as the Oscar-nominated documentary ‘Gasland,’” says Keith Mauck, the publisher of GoMarcellusShale.com. “This has had a corrosive effect on the public opinion of Marcellus Shale, penetrating the reporting by mainstream media and tainting their worldview of the issue.”
At the same time, sentiment in user-generated content—social media—is nearly twice as positive than comments and reporting in traditional media.
“That’s an interesting and counterintuitive conclusion, particularly considering that environmental groups are typically savvy social networkers who know how to get their message out online,” says Greg Matusky, President of Gregory FCA, one of the nation’s 50 largest public relations agencies. “It tells me that while the media is decidedly negative, citizens and supporters of natural gas development in the Appalachian Basin have found a place online to voice their support, a place that’s unfiltered by reporters and editors. It also suggests that the industry has not done a good enough job of communicating facts to traditional media.”
Conversely, industry groups may have found an effective way of countermining traditional media reporting.
“The recent New York Times expose comes immediately to mind,” says Matusky. “The article, which reported on groundwater contamination by Marcellus Shale development, was strongly attacked online by industry groups. Our study shows that this kind of rapid response through unfiltered and direct channels can affect public opinion.”
What is not so clear, however, is whether more positive online sentiment will eventually affect traditional media coverage and convince reporters and editors that domestic, clean energy, if developed responsibly, represents a major energy advance for America.
“The stakes are high—as evidenced this month when America went to war arguably over Mideast oil and on the heels of a nuclear disaster in Japan,” says Mauck. “America’s future depends on an effective, long-term energy policy, and public opinion weighs heavily in the direction of that policy, which is why this study is so timely and important for our nation.”
The study, which includes sentiment reporting by energy type, development method, and company players, can be downloaded at http://www.marcellus-shale-public-opinion-report.com/.
The reasons for this are substantive, not just a PR short coming. Most of the attention is on Pa. where shale gas has been much more problematic than out West - to put it mildly - is virtually untaxed vs the West, where it is taxed. Plus Pa is under the scrutiny of major media outlets in New York. So no coincidences.
Unfortunately people react to fear, regardless if it is based on truth or not. It is called playing on the human emotions and the anti-gas folks are playing this card for all it is worth.
I'm sorry James, but folks spreading these half truths are doing more damage to our country than fracing ever will. The truth hurts, doesn't it?
Huh? Obviously you haven't had any first hand experience with horizontal drilling and/or fracing or even the data of same that is available.
Everyone is concerned about our aquifiers and to a limited extent your 'essential habitat', whatever that is.
IF you wanted to be concerned about our environment you would be saying "How about the surface spillage?" That is what I am concerned about. From all creditabe sources I can find surface spillage/runoff of drilling and fracing fluids may be the only true concern we should have. Instead you go off into never never land with some statements that have been proven false.
As Karen points out below.....When man and machine are involved there will be break downs and human mistakes. We just need to insure that they are held to a bare minimum.
On a side note, yesterday I had a state water biologist as a customer. I inquired about the quality of the water in the river nearby that has a frac water treatment plant up river. " There has been no problem so far" was his answer..and they have been treating it for over a year now. I'm not in favor of treating the frac fluid and disposing of it, however it has been working in our area.
Also for the alarmists: The two largest drillers in our area are now re-using over 75% of the flowback frac fluids...with one saying this year they will be re-using 100%. There are no more frac fluid ponds in our area, just ponds for the fresh water. So IF you were so knowledgeable and wanted to get the truth out, you would have found this in your research and been real happy !!!! However some anti-gas folks aren't looking for new info, just re-hashing last years news.
Lets do it smart....the companies are on the right path it appears.
When you have criminal elements involved with very lax PA regulators oh the job , that are not enforcing the laws already on the books, then that is what you get....waste water on the roads. In the article about this situation I read where the state DEP was not checking the businesses logs (as the law requires them to do) or they would have caught it the first time around. AS I stated elsewhere here, at least one of the major drillers is going 100% re-use this year, so hopefully in a year or so there will be no need for disposal.
Yes I believe there is an indirect property tax on the wells, compressor stations etc, I understand that a property with added buildings/structures, even wells/compressor stations/etc can be reassessed to include the improvements which raises the individuals property taxes. I don't know if this has been done yet, but I understand the county gov'ts can do it.
Personally I don't believe the state should have the right to tax the gas coming out of the ground. However I am not opposed to 2-3% or so tax for the betterment of society, IF AND ONLY IF at least 90% of it is returned as a check to all legal citizens of the state.
I have never liked arguments that are based on the fact that everyone else is doing it, so it is the right thing to do. It just isn't prudent thinking, however it does give one an option to look at.
Just remember that a good chunk of every tax dollar is lost in the cost of gov't before one penny is spent on anything worthwhile. Send the money to the citizens of the state and let them stimulate the economy.
No, not from the royalties, from the wellhead price.
I know it will be wasted by the gov't, thats why i stated that the proceeds be split up between all residents of 1 year or more in the state.